Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Srinivasan got ready for the afternoon siesta after his usual laborious lunch; laborious, not because there was something special for lunch, but just that, his meticulousness always ensured that everything was laid out in front of him in elaborate detail. A few extra micro particles of salt would leave him in great despair, as though Susila had committed a grave irrevocable sin.

What have you done, Susi? He would shout from the hall, as she would disappear countless times into the kitchen at the time of serving. In spite of having been married for the last thirty six years, she would run back in panic, with a few wrinkles appearing on her forehead "What happened? Have I added more salt in the sambhar today?" Srinivasan would look up and say "Yes, the sambhar tastes like salt water today."

Oh, I thought so. I was talking with Lakshmi, and somehow, a few, more than normal, slipped out of my hand. Please adjust today. Corrective measures will be taken by dinner. She would then slip back into the kitchen, irrespective of whether she had work inside or not, before Srinivasan could utter another word. That, though, would not stop him from murmuring a few protests, "I don't understand what you talk with that servant maid. Is she here to help you in your chores or to distract you?"

Anyway, as he got up from his afternoon nap and freshened up, the postman shouted with his usual shrill voice "POST". This was a part of the routine that the husband and wife were accustomed to. Susila had the usual question, "Any letter from Anandhi?" Srinivasan immediately retorted, "I just got the letters. Wait a minute. There are a bunch of letters from the bank. I have to fill up some forms and send it back. Anyway, here it goes. There is actually a letter from Anandhi." Susila immediately left whatever she was doing, and strained her ears to listen to what her husband was about to read out. "She is going to come next week. I believe the kids are having their usual summer vacation for a month." What else does she say? Wait, is this the way to read out a letter", she shouted, and pulled the letter from his hand. You get back to your bank papers. She gazed the letter in apparent excitement, and made a mental note of the things that needed to be done before her daughter visited them.

The next few days, one could witness a lot of activities in the Srinivasan household. Susila was busy preparing vadaams(sandige/fryums), murukkus, sweets and other delicacies in anticipation of the coming week. Srinivasan did not even try to engage her in any conversation, for he knew that it would be nothing but futile. Susila was lost in her own world. It was as though, there was an added freshness in her life.

What are they doing in Sivaraman's house? Have they found an alliance for him or not? asked Susila. I don't know. There are rumours that he wants to marry a girl from another caste. It seems he is waiting for his parents' approval. Susila frowned, Oh, Siva! Siva! What is happening to today's kids?

What is the news from Ragini aththai? Her son had visited us sometime back and told us that she was not doing well. How is she now? inquired Anandhi.

Mother and daughter were sitting on the swing, placed in the center of the hall. The kids had gone to the nearby ground to play with the local pattalam (group). Srinivasan was easing himself on the armchair, listening to the two ladies talk about everything in the world. He was drowned in the happiness of the moment.

Are you practicing your Carnatic? asked Srinivasan, as though from a trance. Illa appa, it has been a long time, since I have found anything in my voice. With these little devils around me, I just do not find the time to do anything. Most of my time is spent looking after them. Srinivasan responded, "Why do you call them as little devils? They are like Rama and Lakshmana. They are your lives. What better work you have in life than to look after them. At the same time, also remember that you do not lose your interests in life."Anandhi nodded.

There is one thing in life that cannot be stopped, and that has to be the fleeting passage of time. The moments had to be left behind, the days sped past, Anandhi went back to her life, Srinivasan and Susila came back to reality, and eventually, even after many decades of existence, everything was like, as though it took place a few moments ago.

Anandhi was sitting on the swing many years later, after her parents' death. They were clearing up the house. It was to be bought by a businessman, who wanted to replace the old house with a massive shopping complex. Sathyan pulled the drawer hard, and it came out too violently for his liking. What do you do? You always end up doing these things. Why don't you show some patience? Anandhi was replacing the contents back in the drawer, when she noticed a crumpled piece of paper. She saw the smudged handwriting on the paper, and quickly identified that piece to be written by her father. It seemed like a continuation of an essay or a drama.

....there was heavy rain and lightning accompanied by loud rumbles of thunder. We were soaked from top to bottom. It felt as though the Gods were punishing us for not carrying the umbrella. It was just a few minutes away before we could be sheltered in the temple premises. The pitch darkness of the surroundings did not aid us in our walk. We were guided now and then by the flashes of lightning. We thankfully reached the temple safely. There was not a soul inside. Goddess Parvati had a radiance that could not be ignored. The wetness of our clothes left us shivering. Right at the deity's feet, we saw a child sleeping without a trace of worry in the world. We searched for her parents, but could not find anyone. We waited till morning to see if someone would come for the child. After a great deal of wait, both of us knew exactly what we wanted to do. There were no second thoughts, as we decided to take her home, and introduce her to the world as our beloved daughter, ...., the name was smudged with fresh tears.


  1. Very well written.. simple and heart wearming :)

  2. I liked the story though I felt I could not get a sense of the period in which it was happening.

    I especially liked how Susila remarks about someone marrying a girl from a different caste when they themselves have an adopted child who might have been born in a different caste. Nicely done.

  3. Nicely written ..

    You've inspired me to put up some of my work in the short story space .. will do it soon ....

  4. wow..trust me..i luv it..it so touching...very well written..i can imagine many of these happening in my house..nice..

  5. nice one man. But did the daughter know that she was adopted until the climax of your story?

  6. Suchitra,

    Praveen S,
    Maybe the early nineties!

    Looking forward to seeing your work!

    Thanks!Glad you liked it!

    What do you think? :-)

  7. GK,

    Beautifully written,.....as always, you capture all the emotions and feelings one can associate/relate to.....Good Job Sir!!!

    I liked the part "Siva Siva"

  8. nice one praveena!! had been waiting for a new post..as always the wait was worth it :)

  9. Praveen,

    Very wholesome story..and easy to relate to! I especially liked your portrayal of Srinivasan and Susi - very typical small-town elders! Also, the father's conversation with Anandhi is very different from the mother's - that was top notch! (learned from experience, I presume) :-)

    Great work!

  10. Madan sir,
    Thank you sir :-)

    Thanks man!!! :-)

    That was a good observation! Maybe because I just imagined the dialog(ue) with my father :-)

    Thanks for the glowing comment :-)

  11. Returning after a long time. Glad I did too! What more can I say. I need to digest the fact that you are a better writer than me :D

  12. Pavan,
    Got to pick some modesty lessons from you :-)

    Thanks for the comment though, and make it regular, even though my writings have become way irregular!

  13. Wow, Mr. GK, i could be buying off your book on collected short stories from praveen gk next from sapna bookstall! ;) such an emotional story, held me till the last sentence..and beautiful! I loved her name..."Anandhi.." kind of poetic...

  14. Lakshmi,
    I can imagine how the title will be

    From the "worst" selling author of all times... :-)

    Thanks for the comment :-)

  15. hey praveen, nicely written! loved the "tamilness" about the post! :)..is this your first short story? looks like Srinivasan is a very strict hubby! :D

  16. Anupama,

    Thanks for the nice comment. I have actually written quite a few "forgettable" short stories :-) Srinivasan is a typical Indian middle class husband of the eighties I guess!

  17. :) a nice story... esp liked the part which is open to reader's interpretation; whether Anandhi knows if she's adopted or not...